Jim Gilmore on War & Peace
Senate challenger 2008; previously Republican Governor (VA)
BROWNBACK: I don’t remember that report. I had a number of briefings. And I held a number of committee hearings. I was chairing the Middle East Subcommittee and we held hearings on this topic and what was taking place and what Saddam was doing.
McCAIN: I did not read that particular document. I received hundreds of briefings and background and information on it.
Q: Gov. Gilmore, you chaired the commission on Iraq. Do you think it was appropriate that members of Congress would authorize the president to go to war without reading that NIE?
GILMORE: I think the people who are in Congress who are responsible for sending this country to war, with the enormous dangers that it has geopolitically and strategically, ought to read at least that kind of material. I know they get a lot of stuff and they can’t read everything.
A: I think Iran is one of the real emerging problems. And you have to look at this Middle East issue beyond just the Iraq issue. You have to look at all the complexities of Israel & Palestine & Iran & Iraq and the entire issue of the Middle East. With respect to Iran, I think that there is no choice at this point other than to join up with people across the world in order to put on serious mandatory sanctions against Iran and to do everything that is going to be necessary to try to bring them to the notion that it is better for them to give up this sort of plan rather than to proceed the way we are. We have to ask ourselves: Are we prepared to have Iran have a nuclear weapon? [What about implications for] Saudi Arabia & Egypt? The American people have to at some point come to a real serious conclusion about the tough decision that has to be made when we may have to in fact strike.
A: I think that he’s trying to bring some sense of civil order over there.
Q: Has he done a good job over these four years?
A: We have to look where we are and where we are going forward. I think that Democrats are wrong when they say that we need to pull out now on some type of timetable. I think that is a recipe for a very dangerous situation. We’re going to have to find the correct way forward now. And the Democratic proposal and any Republicans that side with them on this immediate pullout are not doing the right thing in the American interest.
Q: But do you agree with Sen. McCain who says that the way this war was conducted over these four years has been awful?
A: Listen, I have not been entirely comfortable with the way this thing has developed either. But the fact is that we’ve got to move forward now, not looking back. I have said numerous times that I think the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.
GILMORE: We have to do everything that we can do to get this guy, because he is a symbol to the people who believe, as a matter of faith, that they have a right and a duty to destroy Americans and Western civilization. The bigger issue, however, is this: The Americans have to lead against the sea of hostility. This is a serious challenge.
Q: Is Pres. Bush partly responsible for that?
GILMORE: What I think we have to do is to use all of our abilities, diplomatic & economic & military, above all things, put ourselves on the moral high ground, and let people across the world know that we are in the same shoes that we were in during the Cold War. During the Cold War, we represented the aspirations of people everywhere in the world in good faith. And that now must be our policy.
A: This is no longer just about the president or his popularity or his standing; this is about what is in the best interests of the nation that he is leading. And I think what he’s really trying to say is, “Look, we’re all in this together. Those who supported us ought to remember that we’re all in the same boat and still stick with us.” And second, I think he’s issuing a message of steadfastness. I think he’s trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments. And I think he’s beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.
A: That’s not true.
Q: It is absolutely true. It’s the reason that Mohamed ElBaradei has just been given the Nobel Peace Prize.
A: That’s false. The UN voted repeatedly to put pressure on Saddam Hussein in order to come forward and allow the inspectors to go everywhere in order to clear up all those things and they repeatedly voted over and over again to support the US’ position in this. It’s a little slippery to say that, gee willikers, now that we know more after the fact, only one side is to blame here. Besides, you’ve got to get beyond all this. This is about what’s in the best interest of not only our fighting soldiers and not even just the US, but the future of the world here.
A: Some local law enforcement and fire personnel are being called up. It is still believed that our law enforcement organizations are capable. In any case there are agreements between localities to reinforce each other at the point of attack and response.
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